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The Mason County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the ax missing from a beloved Paul Bunyan statue Tuesday night in the Lake Cushman area.

“Paul Bunyan, over here, is an icon of Shelton, and it makes my heart warm to see the output of assistance people have given … to get the ax back,” statue owner Lloyd Prouty said.

The 50-pound ax fell along Highway 101 on the way to a weekend event.

On Monday, Prouty’s daughter Kathleen Otto learned a woman had posted an ad on Craigslist about finding a giant ax alongside the road near Shelton. Otto said the family hoped the ax would be returned after speaking and emailing with the woman. But their last exchange led them to believe the woman may have decided to try to sell the ax, Otto said. They filed a report.

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Otto said the ax won’t be back in place for a while.

“It’s got a crack in the handle,” she said.

The 21-foot fiberglass statue stood for years in front of a Shelton gas station, before moving to Shelton High School. About 20 years ago, Prouty led the restoration effort that allows Paul to be taken to events around the region.

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